En­ergy of the Union

The prepara­tory stage in the con­struc­tion of Be­larus’ first nu­clear power plant is about to com­plete

Economy of Belarus - - UNION STATE - Valentina SEMENOVICH, Econ­omy of Be­larus Mag­a­zine

In Fa­vor of Nu­clear En­ergy

De­spite the ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits the project is a com­pli­cated is­sue for Be­larus. The coun­try has faced the Ch­er­nobyl tragedy, with con­se­quences still felt. Twenty-five years is not enough for nu­clear power en­gi­neer­ing to re­gain the trust of the mankind. This year’s ac­ci­dent at the Ja­panese nu­clear sta­tion

Con­struc­tion of the Ostro­vets nu­clear power plant is likely to be the big­gest project of the Union State. With a nu­clear power plant of its own Be­larus will be able to con­sid­er­ably re­duce the im­port of nat­u­ral gas and de­crease green­house gas emis­sions. The prime cost of the elec­tric­ity the fu­ture nu­clear sta­tion will gen­er­ate will be 2-3 times lower than that gen­er­ated by con­ven­tional co­gen­er­a­tion and coal-fired power plants. Af­ter the nu­clear sta­tion is com­mis­sioned in 2018, Be­larus will be able to fully sat­isfy the do­mes­tic de­mand for elec­tric­ity and ex­port some en­ergy, too.

Fukushima 1 has sent an­other wave of nu­clear pho­bia across the globe.

Nev­er­the­less, eco­nomic cal­cu­la­tions and modern prac­tices used to run nu­clear in­stal­la­tions tes­tify in fa­vor of nu­clear sta­tions. At present a nu­clear sta­tion rep­re­sents the most pow­er­ful and most en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly source of en­ergy that is ir­re­place­able for in­dus­tri­ally de­vel­oped na­tions, par­tic­u­larly those with scarce nat­u­ral en­ergy re­sources. It is not an ac­ci­dent that nu­clear power en­gi­neer­ing is used in nearly 30 coun­tries with an­other 60 declar­ing their in­tent to de­velop the in­dus­try.

This is why the in­dus­try’s safety tech­nolo­gies get con­stantly bet­ter. Af­ter the Ja­panese ac­ci­dent the pos­si­bil­ity of emer­gen­cies must be com­pletely ruled out. It is a re­sponse to Europe’s ap­peal to cur­tail nu­clear pro­grams in fa­vor of re­new­able en­ergy sources. Yet spe­cial­ists agree that out­dated sta­tions that can­not meet modern safety re­quire­ments (those like Fukushima 1) should be de­com­mis­sioned. They should be re­placed with those that use ac­ci­dent-free tech­nolo­gies.

Fol­low­ing these prin­ci­ples Rus­sia’s top state-run cor­po­ra­tion Rosatom has in­vited ex­perts, in­clud­ing for­eign ones, to per­form stress tests on its nu­clear sta­tions. Rosatom and Be­larus will work to­gether to build the Be­laru­sian nu­clear sta­tion. The tests in­cluded hands-on ex­am­i­na­tion of the sta­tions and lab anal­y­sis of nu­clear sta­tion de­signs. The spe­cial­ists mod­eled all the pos­si­ble emer­gency sit­u­a­tions for ex­ist­ing and fu­ture nu­clear power plants. The tests demon­strated that Rus­sian nu­clear power plants could with­stand the com­bi­na­tion of el­e­ments that Fukushima 1 could not. Nev­er­the­less, Rus­sia has cor­rected its nu­clear sta­tion de­signs to im­prove their safety and take into ac­count even the most un­likely threats.

The nu­clear sta­tion de­sign AES-2006 pre­pared by the Saint Peters­burg-based com­pany

The ground for the foun­da­tion pit of the first en­ergy unit has

been pre­pared at the site of the fu­ture nu­clear sta­tion. Its

con­struc­tion will be­gin in spring 2012

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